Archive for November, 2008

Let Us Give Thanks

I am a little late getting this post up.  Had a busy Thanksgiving week, between work, cooking, cleaning, getting ready for the parental units to come on down…you get the drift.  Thus, on this last glorious day of November, here is brief list of some of things that I am thankful for.  I think if I were to truly list everything, it may make a VERY LONG post.  Honestly, I am pretty much thankful for just about everything in my life, both the good and on those bad days as well.  Anyhow, here goes….

*Good friends that are always there when I need them.

*A DH who understands and supports me in everything I do, and puts up with some of the ridiculous crap that I manage to pull every once in a while. 

*A wet kiss from my boy dogs after a bad day at work.

*My house

*Sunday AMs curled up in bed drinking coffee and reading the paper with DH

*All my senses, i.e. sight, smell, taste

*Having a creative side that allows me to enjoy fiber arts of all kinds

*A job

Like I said, just a small list for now.  Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

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The story about Buddy began yesterday.  Today it continues…

I did a ton of research last night on the BARF vs. Home cooking diet. I see pros and cons to both diets.  I have a RN that I work with that has two dogs as well.  So, I figured I would pick her brain as to what type of diet she feeds her dogs.  She feeds her dogs Nutro Dog food.  She gave a testimonial to the fact that her dog had a very ratty coat, she started feeding Nutro and Voila!  Better skin, better coat and less shedding! 

I searched the Nutro Dog Food site today and figured I would give it a try.  Off to Petsmart I went, and picked up a small bag of Nutro Natural Choice Chicken and Rice for Sensitive Systems.  I don’t know if this is the type I am going to stay with though.  I see that they do have a senior dog formula, and Buddy is a senior dog at 11 years old.  Anyhow, we are going to see how he does.  Will keep you posted.

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We had a rare treat here in Raleigh NC today.  Well, backtrack a little.  Saturday we had 72 degrees, thunderstorms and tornados in the middle of the night.  Today, we had something I usually only see when we go to PA.  SNOW!  A brief snow flurry this afternoon that lasted probably a total of 30 minutes or so.  Of course, nothing acculmulated…the ground is still too warm.  But the temperature today was 39 degrees with a stiff wind bringing it to about 30 degrees.  Only in NC can you be wearing short sleeves one day, then a full set of long underwear the next.  Such is life….

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Halupki and Football

Football is not my favorite sport.  I would much prefer a baseball game where I can knit and not have to watch the players scramble all over the field.  Hockey is about the same way for me, but I can still somehow manage to knit and know what happened.  Not that way with football.  BUT, I do play with the boys in fantasy football league, having to ask the DH for advice on who to play, who not to, etc.  I tolerate the Sunday afternoon football games with my husband, only because some of my patients will ask me if I have seen this game or that game.  I don’t have a favorite team, but my husband has come to the conclusion that I am closet Steeler fan, even though I dislike Ben Roesthelinger immensely. 

Where am I going with this?  I confess….I am a secret Steeler fan.  In fact, I made Halupki aka cabbage rolls this weekend in honor of the game in Pittsburgh vs. the Chargers. Let’s hope the Steelers can do a little bit better this weekend than last. 

Ah, a load is lifted off my shoulders.  One of the many secrets I harbor is out.  Now, shh…don’t tell anybody, esp. my friend Zena.

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Buddy has an issue…

The DH and I have two dogs, both golden retriever mixes who were rescue dogs. Copper is 8 years old and a mix of golden and irish setter. He tore his ACL last november, had TPLO surgery in April, physical therapy through July, and is now much happier that he can chase the ball. Buddy is ~10 years old, and was our first dog. He had a traumatic injury to his one eye, and had surgery to have a silicon ball placed in the socket due to the damage to the vitreous humor. I was NOT having a dog with one eye sewn shut at my house. All the other dogs would make fun of him….

Anyhow, Budddy is a great dog. One of those dogs that you can do anything to or go anywhere with, and he will take it and wag his tail. He is definitely my dog, whereas Copper is my husbands’ dog. Unfortunately though, Buddy has skin issues. This has escalated over the past 3 months to the point I don’t know what else to do with him.

It all started in August when we went to PA and stayed with my parents for a week. Now, my dogs love to go to PA. Not only do they get to play with their cousins Cash and Sam, they walk off the leash, lie on the porch, bark at the UPS man and get endless treats. Before we went to PA, Buddy’s coat was looking GOOD. No hotspots, no tail issues, etc. Well, when we got back from PA, his skin and coat turned into this ugly, greasy, angry-looking mess. I came home from work one day to find clumps of hair all over the house, and bare spots on his tail. Further investigation showed random spots all over that were red and looked painful. Gave him a bath with my special soap to no avail. Off to the vet for a shot of Kenalog. The vet said he had flea bite dermatitis, coupled with some allergy, probably to the grass in PA. So we started Comfortis, as well as an anbx for secondary skin infection.

Buddy’s skin improved. But he still had bare patches throughout his legs, etc. I figured it would improve. Well, it hasn’t. Matter of fact, he is back to the same itchy skin that he had beginning of October. The DH and I are at a loss. We haven’t changed his food. We use no chemicals in the house that would bother him. I am going to take him to the vet again this week. I am actually toying with the idea of taking him to the NC State Vet school who has a derm dept. to see what answers they could give me.

The other idea that I am toying with is starting him on either the BARF diet or home cooked diet, totally eliminating all commercial dog food from his diet. What the hell is the BARF diet you ask? BARF stands for Bones and Raw Food diet. It is based on the premise that dogs are carnivores, and should eat meat. COmmercial dog foods are all grain based. THus, you feed your dog raw meat, such as chicken wings, etc and vegetables. You essentially give them the food that they are supposed to eat. More info can be found here.  The other diet is creating your dog meals, like chicken stew, etc along the same premise, but you don’t feed him the raw stuff.  Buddy is pretty picky, so I am leaning toward the home cooked diet.  COpper on the other had would definitely get into the BARF diet.  He is a more boy than Buddy.

From what I have read, there are a LOT of people out there feeding the BARF diet.  A lot of testimonials do say they have seen a improvement in their dogs coat, overall health etc.  It is a little more time consuming and more expensive, but this is the third time we will have gone to the vet in 2 months.  As far as time, I am always cooking on the weekend, so big deal if i have to cook a big thing of stew for my dog. 

Any of my readers out there feed either of these diets to their canine friends?   I would love to hear your comments.  I will keep you posted about the goings on.

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Nine things…….

It is one of those rainy turning sunny, breezy types of days in NC. I am content and feel at peace. Found this and wanted to share with you. Nine things we should all live by. Enjoy.

Nine Things I Know For Sure from Summer Pierre on Vimeo.

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As I had stated in a previous post, I purchased a fleece from Rising Meadow Farm in Liberty NC.  It was from a corriedale named Peanut Butter, and is moorit in color.  This means it is a brown color that can range from  a caramel to a deep chocolate brown.  Peanut Butter’s fleece is what I would describe as a caramel color.  J. Schmidt, another fleece that I almost bought, was a dark. rich chocolate brown color.  He was the ram, and they have tendency to be a little more “smellier” than the normal sheepy smell. (Sorry guys!) Thus, I thought it would be fun and interesting to do some blog posts about fiber prep to spinning.  Now, I am no expert in this.  All my knowledge is from what I read on the internet, word of mouth and books and magazines.  But I thought it would be entertaining blog posts. 

I had thought about sending my fleece away to get processed so that I would not have to do it myself.  But, in the real scheme of things, you basically do have to do everything yourself to the fleece before you send it away.  The fleece preparation company I was going to use charged about $6 per pound to card the fleece, or get it ready to spin.  THis doesn’t not even include the removal of VM, or vegetative matter,  or the washing.  Plus, their website has explicit instructions about doing everything up until you send it to them for carding.  So, because of that and the fact that my friend Lisa has a drum carder that I will be able to use, I opted to prepare the fiber myself.  (I secretly hope Santa will bring me a drum carder of my own…hee hee.)

So, here is the bag of fleece.  This fleece is from the shearing this year.  Once the fleece is taken off the animal, it is placed on a huge board to be skirted.  In other words, all the second cuttings are taken off, plus any VM or badly soiled fleece is removed.  Then it is placed into a bag and weighed.  Peanut butter’s fleece weighed about 5 lbs.  The other thing that is in fleece, besides dirt and VM, is lanolin.  Lanolin is the “grease” that is in wool.  It is exactly like grease, or at least it is in my opinion.   Thus, a fleece that weighs 5 lbs prior to washing and prep, may really only give you about 3 lbs of wool due to the weight of the lanolin.

The first step to fiber prep is removal of VM.  Or as I like to call it, relaxing on the back porch picking at the wool, which is exactly what I do.  I take handfuls of wool and pick through it, pulling any piece of hay, seeds, etc from the fibers.  I also gently pull the fibers apart so that they will wash better and more dirt will be removed.  I think of this as a very relaxing thing to do, as it really doesn’t require much thought.  Every once in awhile there will be a huge matt of lanolin that you just have to throw out.  The pics illustrate how I do my picking of the wool.  My DH even helps some…it is together time picking wool.  Huh. 

The plan is that the next post on fiber prep will be some washing of the fleece.  I also forgot to mention that I have another fleece that is ready to be put on the drum carder.  Her name is Deborah, and I purchased her from the lady that first taught me to spin.  I will post pics of that in some later posts.

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